To consider Melville’s fiction, and Moby-Dick in particular, as spiritually evocative in nature requires, it is true, a leap away from typical models of literary criticism. But Melville’s own reading seems to have followed such a path: markings in Melville’s Bible show him underscoring Jesus’ parables often, and highlighting the discussions about the use of parables even more frequently. As Brian Yothers has remarked recently, “Melville’s markings [in his Bible]… indicate how his personal religious thought is inextricably intertwined with his sense of vocation as a novelist and a poet.” To understand Melville’s fiction deeply, then, we must be willing to imagine—and perhaps even to experience—that which is beyond the text, that to which the text alludes. In a 2001 article on the connection between narrative and mystical experience, Catherine Garrett wrote,
…for most people, literature has more power than theory: that is, narrative reaches more people than metanarrative, even though behind every story is an earlier, greater story which gives it form. The power of narrative… comes from its ability to generate emotions to which theory can only refer.
Garrett’s article focuses on the experiences of the well-known mystic, Julian of Norwich, whose mystical experience came after an extended period of personal suffering and despair. In the same vein, in William James’s chapter on “Mysticism” in The Varieties of Religious Experience, James notes that
 Brian Yothers, “One’s Own Faith: Melville’s Reading of The New Testament and Psalms” (Leviathan 10.3 (Oct. 2008), 39-40.
 Garrett, Catherine. “Weal and Woe: Suffering, Sociology, and the Emotions of Julian of
 William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience (New York, NY: The New American Library, 1958), 312.